Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fondly Recalling "Mailbox Mauling" While Pregnant

It's that wonderful time of the year again...... snowfall, kids and dogs playing in snow, snuggling under a blanket with loved ones, desecration of mailboxes....

Ah, yes! Good times, my friends.  Good times.

That last one carries many fond memories for me.  Before 2010, I never really noticed mailboxes.  And if I happened to see one that had been mangled, I always felt bad for the people it belonged to.  

And then I got pregnant.  Everything changed.

I've always had a love for MAIL.  When I was little, I ordered the RCA Record of the Month and stalked my mailbox waiting for it to arrive each month.  At every business I worked at, with the exception of hair salons, I was the mail person.  I retrieved the mail, sorted mail, stamped mail, dropped mail off at the post office, created mailing lists, etc.  One place even had me  help with the designing of their mailbox/brick fixture.  And when I forget to get the mail at home, someone always seriously asks "Are you okay?"  I love mail.  I'm sure you're picking up on that now.

The last 1.5 months of my pregnancy, I couldn't sleep.  I contracted a nasty cold after Justin and I decided to take a trip to a casino for the weekend.   Between the cigarette smoke and the INSANE AMOUNT OF GERMS, I was sick within 24 hours.   

If I wasn't sitting at a  minimum of an 80 degree angle, I was coughing and choking.  Laying down was impossible.  My anxiety was out of control and I was afraid that if I fell asleep, I would choke to death.  I watched the sun rise almost every day, still awake from the night before.  I knew every show that was on from the minute I got into bed until 6am.    I got between 2.5 hours and 45 minutes of sleep each night.  And then I worked all day at my physical, outdoorsy job.  

Recipe for disaster, indeed!

That month before Allie was born was a doozie when I was behind the wheel.  We had three relatively new vehicles that I was able to drive.  I had some sort of collision with all three within a few weeks.

Being blonde, Justin and I never thought about the possibility that maybe I shouldn't drive after the accidents with the first two cars.  However, as I was driving his Corvette into another car, he yelled "STOP!  STOP!" and calmly extracted me from the vehicle.  He decided that I shouldn't drive myself that day.  (Interpretation: "You can trash the other two cars, but don't f*ck up the really nice one or I'll mess your pregnant shit up !")  To be completely fair, he was super nice to me and held my hand while I cried because I had blemished his precious vehicle.  I'm really really REALLY lucky.

Pregnant selfie taken shortly after the "Vette Incident of 2010"

Going back to the topic of mailboxes.....

We had a Toyota FJ Cruiser and it was primarily Justin's truck.  For some reason I had it that day and on my ride home, I panicked when I saw deer on the side of the road.  My reflexes were totally lagging, so somehow I managed to swerve and hit both the front and back (but not the middle) of the truck into a row of mailboxes.

I stopped and was completely shocked.  I got out of the truck and stared at the truck.....then the mailboxes.....then the truck again.  There was mail everywhere.  As I mentioned, it was a row of mailboxes.  Dead soldiers, all bent over and their guts were scattered all over the road.  

As a lover of mail, I did what any other postal devotee would do.  I immediately started picking up the mail.  My big pregnant butt was walking around, bent over, trying to get the mail before someone drove by and really ruined it!  I waddled as quickly as I could and collected it all, junk mail included. 

As a partially sane, sleep deprived person, the important thing to do finally clicked in and I called Justin.  

Justin: Hey honey.  (he always answers nicely like that)

Me:  I just had an accident.

Justin: What??

Me:  I saw a deer and I thought it was going to run in front of me and I swerved and I hit this row of mailboxes and fishtailed again and then I hit the rest of them!

Justin: Where ARE you????

Me: (I give him the address.  I can't tell you.  They might have been YOUR mailboxes for all I know!)

Justin: That's where the mailboxes are?  Where are YOU?

Me: I just told you.

Justin: You're in front of the mailboxes?

Me: Yes.  I don't know which one belongs to which house and it's getting dark and no one is around.... (i'm crying by this point)

Justin: Why are you still there then?

Me: (silence)

Justin: Vicki!  Are you there?  Can you hear me??

Me: Yes.

Justin: What are you doing?

Me: Sorting the mail.

Justin: Your kidding right?

Me: No, I'm not!  The mail was everywhere! I can't really see the numbers on the boxes and it's a lot to sort!!

To this day, when Justin tells the story, he always emphasizes the fact that I sorted the mail before I left because he thinks I have an abnormal obsession with the postal system and, apparently, this story backs up his theory.

So, when I see a mangled mailbox, I remember that day fondly.  I won't continue with the dialogue, but while in that state of mind, I determined that the people should actually PAY me for hitting their mailboxes, because the other ones where total crap to begin with.  They would have to replace the mailboxes with new ones, which would increase the value of their property!  Therefore, as I informed my husband, I did them a huge favor, and THEY should pay US for the auto body repairs on the truck.  How I came up with that wacky logic is unclear, but I remember thinking that I was really smart when I was pregnant, sleep deprived and off of my anxiety medication.  AND, when I took him to see the mailboxes the next day, they had already replaced all of them with the pretty new kind that are encased in plastic mailbox-shaped suits of armor.  Improvements were swiftly made.  All. Because. Of me.

I am unable to post photos of the mailboxes before and after they were replaced (again, they could be YOURS and you'd be super pissed, as I imagine that you aren't buying that whole property value increase theory), but I've seen many others since that day and I always wonder what the story is behind them.  I've taken photos of some of my favorites since then and I hope you find these as intriguing as I did.  (Note: These are all taken in rather nice neighborhoods, which makes some of them even more entertaining.  Enjoy!)

These people are not giving up.  You can see by the multiple types of tape used that this was not their first rodeo, if you know what I mean.  

My personal favorite!  These people are on a mission.  They will protect their mailbox at all costs.  Garbage can filled with  cinder block chunks and held down with rebar, with electrical wire AND an audio/visual cable tying it to the post for the added touch.  I bet you he grabbed everything he could find in his garage that last time his mailbox was hit and put this together, fueled by fury!

Piggy back mail boxing.  At what point do you call your neighbor and say, "Ive had enough.  I'm not buying another mailbox.  I'm going to just tie mine onto yours.  I hope you can deal with that"?  Then, was the main box hit and the guy was too afraid to replace it with the other mailbox (from aforementioned pissed off neighbor) attached?

True New Yorker.  This person just took the box, flipped it so the opening was  facing up and still uses it this way.  There was mail in it!  I peeked!  This guy knows that if he replaces that box and we get a ton of snow, the DPW Angry Plowers will just take the new one out too.

This person just gave up.  RIP mailbox.  

Sent to me by a friend.  Total honorable mention! Support stick, rope, massive duct tape and who knows what else they used.  That little red flag screams "Never say die!  You can knock me down, but you can't take me out!"

If you have any of your own please email them to me! (those are zeros, not the letter "o")

Wishing you all a lovely start to the holiday season!  xoxo

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Demise of Organizational Confidence

Recent conversation in my home:

(Scene: I'm sitting on the couch in the living room watching Sofia The First with Allie and watching my husband as he prepares to fix our coat rack. Multiple trips have been made to and from the garage as he collects the tools necessary for the job)

Me:  (taking a double take as Justin walks past for the final time)You need a HATCHET to hang a coat rack????

Justin:  (eyeing up the wall with his back to me)  I couldn't find a hammer.  It's the best I could do.

Me:  WHAT?

Justin:  What?

Me:  You're a tool guy and you can't find a hammer?

Justin:  (still looking at the wall)  Yeah.

Me:  And you don't find that ODD?

Justin:  How can you expect me to find a hammer in that mess?

Me: I can't believe you can't find a basic tool like a hammer.  Aren't you ashamed of yourself?

Justin:  (pause)  Maybe a little.

Installation commenced.  Seriously, folks.... he used the hatchet.  Totally true story.

I tell you this story because for the past seven years, Mr. I Sold Tools For A Living has been arguing with me about our garage being a mess.  His arguments have changed over the years.  I think he slowly started to accept the facts.  For your amusement, here are the most frequently heard retorts to my accusations:

2006:    "It's not THAT bad.  All of this stuff is seriously important."
2007 - 2013: "It's a little messy.....but I know where all my shit is."
2008:    "I think we might to need to get out there and clean the garage."
2010:    "'s like training camp for an episode of hoarders out there."
2012:    "The garage is getting pretty bad."
2014:    "I can't find ANYTHING."

The 2014 statement occurred only after we had an organizer come and "just look" at the situation.  Apparently, all it took was a professional person with great organization skills, who could speak to him in gentle tones, to drive this point home.

I'd love to post a photo of our garage, but I can't and the reason is two-fold.  One, it's such an embarrassing disaster and I'm afraid you'll judge ME along with him.  Two,  allegedly we have stuff of value in there (or he's just lying so I won't throw everything away while he isn't home) and I don't wanna brag!  (as if you really give a shit about tools)  So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Let me post some supporting photo documentation to go with the story above before I wrap this up:

The tools necessary to REhang the coat hanger.  Notice the HATCHET.  I wonder how confident he would be about me hanging photos with a bunch of nails and a hatchet.
Speaking of nails..... notice the thing-a-ma-jig, whatchacallit, do-dads here.  Our garage looks like a tornado hit it.... multiple times..... yet his little parts and stuff are perfectly organized in a bunch of carriers like this.  I don't get it.  Did he exhaust his organizational skills with small parts?
Sad sad coat hanger.  For the fourth time, he points out that the rack has too many coats on it.  My question was "Don't you have a stud finder?"  (The responses are always eye-rollers.)  The little hanging whozeewhatzees above are supposed to help you hang stuff when you can't find a stud.   I think we can label this method as A FAIL  (not yet of epic proportions)
Removal of our overused coat rack for the 4th time.  I know the amount of times from the three holes in the wall.  I think we may be putting too many coats on the rack.... maybe..... I think.  I'll have you know that the rack is back on the wall and all of the coats are on it again.  We're blond, you know?  It takes us awhile to catch on.

Here's a photo of my little princess.  She helped me walk Tallulah today.  I love it when we get to spend time together in the middle of the day.  Aren't they both beautiful?

DISCLAIMER:  The previous story in no way indicates that my husband is unable to do handyman projects.  He gutted and remodeled a kitchen, two bathrooms and a bunch of walls and ceilings....which he had never done before.  He's a "let me wing it first and see how it goes" kinda guy.  I'm beyond impressed with his mechanical abilities.  I love you, dear!

NOTATION:  I once hung up a two foot wide shelf when my first husband was at work.  I used a level, NUMEROUS screws, bolts, nails (for screw reinforcement), a hammer, an electric drill, a chalk thingy to draw a line, and a hammer (NOT a hatchet).  He came home, put a book on it and the shelf felt forward about three inches from the wall.  After forbidding me to touch any more electrical tools in the house, collecting himself from laughing at me, AND removing the shelf and supporting items, he taught me about WALL ANCHORS.  Thank you, Ron, for this very valuable piece of homeowner knowledge that I will never forget.   P.s. I still have no idea how to use them!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Therapeutic, Drug Free Weddings

I've mentioned it before, but this past week, my wedding day has been stuck in my head.  Mostly, because a week ago I got to be a part of celebrating my friends' wedding.  I think those events bring up lots of memories for us "already marrieds".

Rose and Steve's wedding was beautiful.  I know people say it all of the time, but I think it may have been one of the most perfect weddings I've ever been to.  The location was fantastic, the people in the wedding were so awesome and the bride looked stunning.  And I mean stunning for real....not in the way that people say stunning because that's the right thing to say.  Plus the guests were a lot of fun and we were put at a table with the super cool people, which always makes it more comfortable when you don't really know anyone.

Steve and Rose...... and the rest of us peeps! 
There was something really strange about the whole event tho.  It was actually therapeutic.  Being able to participate in a perfect wedding with people I love helped me get over the residual guilt of my own wedding day.

Let me take you back 5 years......

I was sick.  The end.

Okay, there was more.  I had spent months upon months obsessing over things and carrying around this kajungus wedding organizer because I wanted things to be perfect.  My mission statement was, "I just want everyone to have a good time."  I just forgot to add "WITH ME."   Apparently, God is very strict with his interpretations when granting requests.
Waiting for the tardy party members.  Places people!  Places!
The night before, we had the rehearsal dinner, which was very nice and Justin and I were gloriously happy.  Before I walked out the door to go home, I sneezed.

Instant sick.

The next morning, I woke up..... sicker.  I rummaged thru my medicine cabinet like a nut, looking for something to make me feel less sniffly, sneezy, coughy and achy.  I was marrying the man of my dreams and everyone I loved was going to be there.  I needed energy and I needed to be clear headed.  So, I took Tylenol Sore Throat and Comtrex somethingoranother.  I grabbed my wedding day crap and ran to my mom's.

I walked thru that door and my parents, brother and sister-in-law all looked at me and said, "Oh my God.  You look awful."  I can still see their faces.  They had that flinchy, slightly shocked, "yikes" look.

I panicked.  "Oh my gawd.  What am I going to do......?"

Here's what else happened.  I FAILED TO MENTION the previously consumed medications from home.   So, when said family starting handing me glasses of water with promises of "take this and it'll help", I started gulping water and drugs like a fish out of water.  Tablets and cough syrups left and right.

About an hour later, I sat in the salon chair, getting my hair done, staring into Kathy's eyes as I held her hand, repeating, "I don't feel good.  I really don't feel right.  I think something is wrong."
This actually did turn out to be a lovely coiffure.  Kathy took the photo and then I confessed to being totally jacked up!

You've seen that I'm blond.  I do fit the stereotype from time to time.  My blondness prevented me from figuring out that I was.....O-V-E-R M-E-D-I-C-A-T-E-D.  In a big way.

Before leaving for the church, we were praying to God, angels, deceased relatives, the Pope, and anyone else with some miraculous pull that might help me feel better.  FAST.
Justin holding me upright and the girls were like book ends keeping me from falling over
ps. Liz I apologize for the photo with the eyes closed but it's the only digital one of these I have!
It didn't happen.  I was now "cold sick" as well as "over medicated sick".  NOT a good combo.  I spent from 1pm until 8pm on the verge of throwing up, unable to eat, dizzy, crying, completely miserable.  I laid on the couch in the bridal suite while people came up to check on me.  I especially enjoyed those who stated the obvious, "You never should've taken all of that medicine!"  Thank you and fuck you.

Here's what I do recall:

I spent a whole lot of time in the bathroom staring into the toilet and praying that I would barf up all of the meds and feel better.

My poor husband spent the first 3 hours of our reception on his own.  It was like he married an invisible person.  (I still feel guilt about that.)

A lot of people checked in on me to see how I was.  My mom, Justin, Kathy, my neighbor Trish, Justin's aunts Kathy and Angel, my mothers-in-law.... and then my oldest NY friend Wendy sat on the couch, feeding me bread and being so kind.  It turns out that Wendy had the magic touch, because even though I couldn't eat, THAT was what made me feel better.  A big fat edible sponge to absorb all of those meds.  She saved what was left of my wedding day!

I got to enjoy the last two hours of the day, even though I was high as a kite from everything I took.  I got to dance with people, cut the cake, ogle Justin, and have some sort of fun.

My favorite part though was the ceremony.  Why?  Because I learned that THAT was the most important part of a wedding.  Not all of the dancing and fun.  It was some sort of miracle, but for that 1/2 hour, I was perfectly fine and healthy and freaking THRILLED.  God took pity on me and said, "Ahhhhh....alright.  I'll let you enjoy the important part.  But that's all!  Don't get your hopes up.  I'll think about the rest of the evening."

We had this guy perform our wedding who thought we were  a riot.  We filled out questionnaires and he really went with it.    When I watch the DVD, I still laugh or cry while watching the ceremony.  It was the best moment of my life, right after having Allie.   I still get that same flutter in my stomach when I think about it.   Our guy kicked ass on our ceremony and I was totally 100% smitten with the other guy there.  You know.  Oh, what's his name?.......  Justin!  That's right.  Whew!  (wink)
One of the best moments of my life.  Lucky girl!
I was really glad we had someone do video because that's the only way I got to see what my reception was like.  It was as I hoped.  People had a good time.  But now I know to include myself when I make such requests!  Never forget yourself.  It took me 37 years to learn that if you don't make yourself a priority, chances are no one else will.
Immediately after our ceremony.....just on the cusp of become sickly all over again

Mind you, five years later, I was sick again!  Yep.  But I combated that shit with vitamins and medication and Airborne in a reasonable fashion.  By the big day, I had a slight cough and sniffles, but Mucinex D helped hide them until midnight.  I also annoyed the crap out of Rose, probably freaking her out, about getting sleep and not getting sick and taking vitamins.  She probably wanted to scream, "SHUT THE FLUCK UP!!!" at me numerous times.

Yet still, Rose and Steve's day allowed me to enjoy and participate in a "do over" of sorts.  I got to be a part of a perfect wedding and enjoy myself!  I cried at the ceremony partly because I was so happy for my friends, partly because it was a beautiful moment and partly because I had that flutter in my heart remembering the moment I married my own Prince Charming.

So, if you're a bride to be, or know one,  be sure you/they are mindful of three things:

  1. Take care of yourself physically.  Keep in mind that stress drains you physically and wreaks havoc on your immune system.
  2. Plan the day so YOU have fun.  Everyone there will follow your cue.  
  3. Focus on that ceremony.  Even if no one else listens, it's the most important part of what's going on that day.  Remember that.
Love to all!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Dodging Death Left and Right!

An important message flin case I die you all will know WHO/WHATDUNIT!!!

Wow.....that's not an attractive part of the video to use as "the preview"!  Thank you very little, YouTube.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kill 'Em With Kindness

Today I'm going to have a little bitchfest about niceness.  Or not-niceness.  Whatever it is, I'm going to complain about people being jerks.  Specifically, over the last 24 hours.

Right away, I'm sure you could conjure up a situation where some stranger was a big fat jerk face to you recently.  Something that makes you squint with pissedoffness when you think about it.  I have  bunch of them that regularly occur and really light a fire under my ass.

1- People who walk into an establishment before you and let the door slam shut on you.
2- People who walk in behind you and don't say thank you (or smile or even look at you) when you hold the door open for them.  
3- People who are polite enough to hold a door, but can't figure out that "you're welcome" is the correct response to "thank you."
4- People who look at you like you're an idiot when you smile at them as you walk past each other in public.
5- People who cut in front of you in line at a store because clearly they never figured out how a line works.  Get in the back, Jack!

Those are five of my favorites.  I would like to give honorable mention to grammatical issues like those who think an apostrophe means you pluralized a word.  Louise's farts vs. Louises farts..... the first one is about farts that belong to Louise.  The second one pertains to flatulence created by a group of people called Louise.  And "car's" means that something belongs to a car.  "Cars" means more than one car.  It's really the worst!  It's apostrophe abuse.


Reading back, I've come to realize that I have a lot of issues involving door etiquette, don't I?

Anyway, I learned something new about "being too nice".  There is no such thing as being too nice when you're in business.  I've been criticized for "being too nice" to my clients when I don't charge for certain things that most other people charge for.  Most of the time it's because of some kind of human error.... and God knows I've got my own list of human errors that I've made!  So, sometimes I don't charge people for things like forgetting to cancel every once in a (long) while, or if they urgently need my help at the last minute because they (infrequently) forgot to call me.  Random stuff happens.   (But I DO have limits.)

As a benefit, it is that those little acts of understanding people for being human and making mistakes that usually improves and strengthens the bond with me and my clients.  BEING NICE HELPS.

Let me give you an example.

Exhibit A:  (I really don't need the A...there was only one situation today, but it sounds fancy to call it Exhibit A.)  (Don't give me crap, because lots of people would've written "....the bond with my clients and myself" in the previous paragraph to sound fancy, which would have been incorrect, so get over my "A")

Exhibit A: 

I need to have straps put on a dress and then get it steamed.  I asked around and someone told me to try a certain place that I've never been to.  So, I did.  I walked in the door and the first person I encountered didn't even turn around and look at me.  The second person, who was behind the counter, looked a little annoyed at being interrupted from....I don't know.  I got kinda nervous because this place did NOT give off the "warm, fuzzy" vibe I would like of someone who will be trying to help me keep my boobs in my dress.

"Can I help you?" They both turned their attention to me at the same time and they sounded as if they had taken a handful of Valium about an hour before I got there.  Enthusiasm was not an option here.

I rambled off what I needed and barely made sense.  As I mentioned, I was nervous.   I don't get nervous in regular situations.  But these two people weren't regular.  They weren't even remotely cheerful.  And I think they lost their smile muscles in some sort of accident.  

The whole thing was horrible.  I felt like they didn't want my business.  And it was a nice looking place, so clearly they must do well at..... something.  For a minute, I took it personally since I can't imagine these people made money being annoyed at everyone who walked in the door.  It must've been me, right?  Did I offend?

I lied and said I'd be back the next day (today) and left.  I made a "U"ey and went to the place I originally planned on going to.

Place #2 is not nearly as nice as the one with The Living Dead running it.  It's a little rundown looking.  However, they've been in business forever and the people working there were cheerful, helpful, and actually looked like they wanted to help me.  And they were freakin' NICE.  


"Too Nice" by some people's standards.  But not mine.  They deserved my business.  They earned it the minute I walked in and they smiled at me.  I will always recommend them to people.  And I will always tell the story why I like them so much.

Unless of course they screw up my dress.  And then I will have to say how nice they are and follow it up with "they don't know squat about sewing shit".   But I'll still mention how nice they are. Because I know that you should always start of the analyzation of a situation by saying something kind.  

It's the nice thing to do.

Before I go, check out these shoes:
Alfani Apryl Mary Janes
Aren't they cute?  Why am I showing you them?   Cuz I keep closing my browser tabs before I remember to save them to my bookmarks.  Now I need to save them here.  I'm using my blog to remind me of crap I want to buy when I have money.  I hope you don't feel used.
They're even cute in the Hooker Leopard, no?

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